When NCAA eligibility dramas aren't equal

11 Comments

Two of college basketball’s premier programs are dealing with freshmen eligibility questions. But you’d never know it.

Everyone’s atwitter (pun intended) about Kentucky recruit Enes Kanter. Did he receive more than $100,000 in salary and expenses from his Turkish club, Fenerbahce Ulker? Or is the team merely staging a prolonged shakedown for a payment or the return of Kanter’s services?

All it took was a N.Y. Times article with Fenerbahce’s general manager denying the shakedown and ripping Kanter’s academic qualifications. “Enes has a good basketball potential yet academically, he is not gifted as much,” Nedim Karakas told the paper.

As a result, my Twitter feed blew up. Responses ranged from indignation regarding Karakas’ comment, to Fenerbahce’s stance on the shakedown to outright weariness on the whole drama.

(Count me among the final group. I’d ready for the NCAA to rule on Kanter so we can all move on.)

Meanwhile, Kansas is still waiting on the NCAA to rule on Josh Selby, who is in limbo because of his association with Robert Frazier, the business manager for Carmelo Anthony. Selby’s mom says Frazier’s a longtime family friend and has merely advised her son. The NCAA is making up its own mind.

Not that anyone seems to care outside of Kansas.

Jayhawks coach Bill Self and Selby spoke at the Jayhawks’ media day, but didn’t have much to say, mostly because they didn’t have anything to report.

“We hope to have a resolution to it sooner rather than later. But I don’t know when that will be,” Self said. “I certainly understand why this has taken a little bit of time but I do think there will be a positive conclusion. Hopefully, shortly. But I don’t know that to be a fact.”

Most seem to think it’s only a matter of time before Selby – Rivals.com’s No. 1 recruit in 2010 – is eligible. Kanter’s anyone’s guess. (John Calipari says Kanter will play.)

Thing is, both players are crucial to a pair of Final Four contenders and both are in a similar situation. But it’s not that Kentucky or Kansas did anything wrong in taking these guys — several schools wanted Selby, while Kanter de-committed from Washington to head to Lexington — but the underlying theme is that Kentucky is, in fact, cheating.

Why the disconnect? Maybe it’s the overseas and payment issues surrounding Kanter that makes the news around him more frenzied. Maybe it’s that he plays for Kentucky, which is in 24/7 coverage. Or maybe it’s that he’s a Calipari recruit.

Schadenfreude may as well be an English word.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

Kansas lands second commitment in the Class of 2018

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kansas landed their second big man in the Class of 2018 on Sunday, as David McCormack, a top 50 prospect, announced that he will be a Jayhawk when he plays his college ball.

The 6-foot-10 center picked Kansas over Xavier, NC State, Oklahoma State and Duke.

A product of the famed Oak Hill Academy, McCormack averaged 15 points and 10 boards on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring. He joins fellow four-star big man Silvio de Sousa in the 2018 class for Bill Self, although the Jayhawks will get three players eligible after they sit out the 2017-18 season as transfers: Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who transferred in from Memphis, as well as Charlie Moore, a point guard from California.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
5 Comments

After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

Jon Lopez/Nike
1 Comment

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

Leave a comment

Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

Leave a comment

John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.